Friday, May 12, 2006

U.S. Troops to Finally Close Border?

President Bush will make a major speech about border security on Monday night, which will be broadcat by all major networks. According to some reports, the President will (finally) announce a plan to shore up our southern border with National Guard troops, paid for by the federal government. Initial estimates of the number of troops involved are between 3,500 to 10,000. Governors of border states were split on the idea, with Richardson (NM) and Schwarzenegger(CA) against, and Napolitano (AZ) and Perry (TX) in favor.

While I applaud the fact that the President is finally doing something to stem the flow of illegal aliens into this country, I don't know that the National Guard is the best way to go. First, our military is already stretched to the breaking point, and many National Guard soldiers have just returned to their full-time jobs after lengthy tours in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. They need to rest and train so that they are ready to perform their primary mission. NG troops moving into border enforcement would also have to be trained, and violent confrontations with Mexican police and military, who freelance by protecting alien crossing and drug runs, will surely ensue.

We do need to overhaul our immigration policy, and I'm glad to see that the President is finally getting the message that Americans overwhelmingly want the southern border closed. But using the NG to perform that duty must be a short-term solution, at best. Let's put the troops there while we construct new barriers that will prevent illegal entry. Then we can add new Border Patrol Agents, technology and whatever else is necessary to ensure that it stays closed. When we've stopped more from coming in, then we can figure out what to do with the 12 million that are already here. And then we can give our troops the rest and honor that they've earned.

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